When you’re expecting a new little one, you get tons of advice about all the baby must haves.
What about the new dad?
6 Awesome Gifts for New Dads
As our littlest one approaches her second birthday next spring, my husband Ty and I have been looking back on what was most helpful to him as an expectant father and then later as a new daddy.
These six baby products make perfect gifts for new dads at a baby shower, for Father’s Day, or just because. We can’t imagine how we could have survived without them!
Start your registry on Amazon, add these new dad gifts to it, and you’ll both be ready to meet your new little one.
1. The Manual
Sometimes guys get a bad rap for not reading instructions. My husband definitely likes to figure stuff out on his own first.
But he’s so thankful there’s one baby manual he read before Bailey was born.
Most new parents have this eye-opening moment after they get home from the hospital with their bundle of joy. You’re trucking along, changing diapers and nursing and marveling at how a baby can possibly sleep through The Avengers on full blast in the living room.
And then the baby cries. She’s not hungry, she’s not tired, and her diaper is clean. You have no idea what the hell is going on. But the crying is raising your blood pressure, and you know it’s your job to fix whatever is wrong.
You lock eyes with your partner, and you realize they’re as lost as you are.
The solution? Read the manual.
In this case, it’s called The Happiest Baby on the Block.
This book will teach you how to get your baby from cranky to calm in minutes. Bonus: The book has pictures to show you all the techniques and handy reference pages to save you from having to read the book cover-to-cover.
But the time to read it is not in the middle of an inexplicable crying fit.
When I was pregnant, Ty read the book for a few minutes in bed every night, and he’d speak up every now and then to share any interesting tidbits he came across.
I loved that I didn’t have to figure out everything on my own, and he loved being involved and informed. Score!
2. A Sturdy Carrier
As a dad-to-be, you may think you don’t need a baby carrier because you have arms. Duh. So why buy something that serves the same purpose?
But you’ll be carrying that little sack of potatoes around a lot. And while you’ll get quite good at performing everyday tasks with just one hand free, some things are just tricky. Like boiling a pot of water to make pasta. Or closing up the trash bag to carry outside because the whole house reeks of newborn baby poo. Or opening a bottle of wine to celebrate when your baby sleeps for 6 hours straight for the first time.
For my husband, a sturdy baby carrier was a total must have. As an added bonus, strangers at the grocery store tend to think a dad wearing his baby is absolutely adorable.
You have a ton of baby carriers to choose from, and a lot of it depends on your own personal preference for fit and look. Try to find a local baby products store that will let you try on different brands and see what you like best.
I can tell you that we borrowed a friend’s Baby Bjorn carrier, and it was horrible for my husband’s back. The support was nonexistent.
Here’s what we settled on and loved: the Stokke MyCarrier.
It’s a little pricier than other brands, but it was worth it to us to save my hubby’s back!
Also, we always get a TON of comments on it when we’re out in public. Bailey is so happy in it, and it looks so comfortable that people stop to ask us where we got it. This happens so frequently that I started carrying a small notepad in my purse so I could write down the name for people who ask.
Get a carrier you love, strap that baby in, and go about your day doing everything you need to…with two hands!
3. A Lean, Mean Bottle Machine
New moms have a lot on their minds. They’re figuring out how to breastfeed or if nursing didn’t work out, stressing over formula prices. They’re learning what their baby’s different cries mean. They’re constantly tracking when the baby last ate and slept and how many wet and dirty diapers they’ve produced so far that day. On top of all that, they’re sleep deprived.
In the weeks after our baby was born, my husband did something that was such a load off my mind. He completely took over the job of washing and sanitizing bottles.
Here are the tools he uses to get the job done:
- A bottle brush. We got a new bottle brush to keep separate from the regular dish scrubbers, so we wouldn’t be scrubbing nasty food particles into the bottles as we tried to clean them. We used this BPA-free brush.
- An electric kettle. This fabulous invention boils water in just a couple minutes, as opposed to waiting for a pot of water to boil on the stove. Not only is it good for boiling water to sterilize bottles, but we also use it all the time for tea and when we make pasta.
- A drying stand. We started out just drying the bottles on a dish towel on the kitchen counter. But our cats thought it was great fun to play whack-a-bottle and knock the clean, sterilized bottles onto the floor, which meant we had to start the process all over again. Then we got this bottle drying stand. It’s perfect! It’s even sturdy enough to handle our glass bottles.
4. A High-Tech Tracker
In the early newborn days, the nurses in the hospital and later your pediatrician will ask you to track everything about your baby. How often she eats and for how long, how often she sleeps and for how long, and how many wet and dirty diapers she has every day.
In the hospital, they give you a sheet of paper to track all this. But after the hospital, you’re on your own.
We fell in love with the MammaBaby app for tracking the ins and outs of our little one. The price is steep for an app ($3.99), but it’s worth it.
The reason it makes the perfect new father gift? With the app, you can share the logged baby information between multiple mobile devices.
This gives you as the dad all the same information as mom at your fingertips. If mom hops in the shower and your baby starts crying, you can check the app to see if he might be hungry or tired. Or maybe you’ll see that he hasn’t had a dirty diaper all day, so he might need a stint in the Poop Chair. (Learn what a Poop Chair is in this other list of newborn must haves.)
And you can do all this troubleshooting on your own without interrupting mom’s much-needed alone time.
5. A Flexible Bag
You might have heard this one before: Get the new dad his own diaper bag – a man bag – so he doesn’t feel embarrassed when he ends up carrying it.
But what if you can’t afford to buy two diaper bags? And more importantly, what if you can’t keep up with making sure they’re both stocked at all times?
(You’d be surprised at the number of times we end up at the grocery store, realize our Bailey is in sore need of a diaper change, and open the diaper bag to find absolutely zero diapers. Or wipes. Or both.)
What worked well for us is a compromise. We got one nice diaper bag that wasn’t too girly or too masculine.
Here are a few options that aren’t just boring black “man bags”:
- Skip Hop Duo Special Edition Diaper Bag – The Blue Pinpoint style (shown above) is super flexible!
- Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack – The gray Champs Elysees pattern is pretty subtle, and the Regent’s Park in olive green is a nice mixture of salty and sweet.
- OiOi Satchel Diaper Bag – This one looks kind of like leather without the $300-400 price tag of a leather diaper bag.
6. Two Playlists
Especially in the newborn days, odds are mom will be at home with the little bundle of joy all day long while dad goes to work.
When you get home from work, you may see a bit of a crazed look in mom’s eyes. This could be from trying to calm a crying baby off and on all day, cleaning up projectile emitting from both ends of the sweet little babe, a complete lack of adult conversation, or all of the above.
Mom will probably need a break. This is where you come in.
Here’s what you do:
- Kiss mom and take the baby from her.
- Say whichever of the following fits best:
- ”Why don’t you run to a coffee shop with a book for some alone time?”
- ”I bet you could use a nap/bath/shower. I’ve got the baby. Go ahead.”
- ”I love you, but you look like you might murder me in my sleep if you don’t get a break. Leave now.”
- If she argues, stay firm. It’s important that she leave the house if possible, or at least go to a completely different room and shut the door. Otherwise, she’ll keep one ear out for baby, and she won’t be able to relax.
- Strap baby in your trusty carrier.
- Check the MammaBaby app to figure out if baby is ready for a nap.
Download my FREE cheat sheet: 16 Miracle Phrases to Help You Reconnect With Your Child
For more newborn must haves, check out Baby Must Haves: Surprising Essentials for Baby’s First Year.
What are your favorite baby must haves for new dads? Share your tip in a comment below!